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What Are Common BMW Problems: Typical Mechanical and Electrical Issues in BMW Vehicles

Lorne Garrett
November 26, 2023

BMW is synonymous with elegance and performance and is one of the most sought-after luxury cars in the world. Owning a BMW also comes with additional responsibilities like maintenance and servicing, which are important for smooth running and better car performance.

However, people need to be more active when maintaining their BMWs, giving rise to numerous issues. You may be wondering, "What are common BMW problems?" This article will cover the most common BMW problems, so you know when to call a luxury car mechanic, and what to look for when buying a used BMW.

What Are Common BMW Problems?

1. Faulty Automatic Headlights

Automatic headlights are very convenient. In most weather conditions, they eliminate the need for drivers to flip the headlights on while operating the vehicle manually. However, some BMW vehicles have issues with automatic headlights staying on even when not needed.

BMW cars have their fair share of issues that lead owners to ask, "What are common BMW problems?"

This draw on the car's battery can lead to other electronics problems. Automatic headlight issues are difficult to detect. If you are experiencing battery problems or other mysterious electronic issues, find a mechanic specializing in BMW repair to address the issue.

2. Discharging Batteries

Most BMW batteries last from 4 to 6 years. However, some BMW owners have found problems with their batteries discharging overnight. While battery problems can result from multiple electronic issues in the car, common causes are accidentally leaving doors open or lights on. Moreover, if the smart key is too close to the vehicle when parked, it may cause battery issues over time. The smart key might keep the vehicle's systems engaged overnight, lowering battery efficiency. Contact a BMW repair shop to diagnose and fix the problem properly.

3. Corrosion of Alloy Wheels

A lot of BMW owners adore their BMW wheels. Yet, some cars show early rusting on the wheels. There's no fix for this rust issue, but consult a BMW mechanic to explore replacement and prevention choices. Steer clear of automated car washes because they utilize powerful pressure washers for wheel spraying. Those car washes and other high-pressure water sources push water beneath even the smallest imperfections.

4. Malfunctioning Fuel Pumps

A failing fuel pump is one of the most frustrating issues for BMW owners. In 2016, BMW recalled over 136,000 vehicles due to troubles with the high-pressure fuel pump. Various BMW models also experience fuel pump problems. Frequently, these problems stem from challenges with wire contacts. Typical signs of fuel pump troubles in BMW vehicles involve sluggish acceleration, sputtering at higher speeds, or an engine that stubbornly won't start.

5. Faulty Electronic Systems

Not every BMW owner encounters problems with their car's electronic system. Yet, BMW initiated a recall impacting 300,000 vehicles in the 2018. Even though BMW didn't disclose the precise reason for the power supply problem leading to the recall, a few BMW owners observed additional issues linked to the vehicle's electronics. It's crucial that a skilled BMW technician promptly handles any suspected electrical problem.

6. Door Handle Problems

People who own BMWs have shared concerns about the door handles, especially those on the BMW X5 SUV. The prevailing issue involves a typical physical use of the door handle, yet the door fails to unlock and open as expected. The solution to this problem is often a complete replacement of the door's locking mechanism.

7. Heater Core and Coolant System Issues

BMW cars also have mechanical and electronics issues.

There are also issues with the car's coolant system and heater core. More often than not, the initial sign of trouble in the coolant system is the vehicle becoming too hot or not generating sufficient warmth. Another indication of coolant problems is a pleasant aroma emanating from the heater; this scent indicates a coolant leak.

The cooling system sometimes has problems. BMW coolant systems typically endure for about 80,000 to 120,000 miles. It's important to stay on top of routine maintenance to avoid complications with the cooling system.

8. Leaking Oil Filter Gasket

Having a BMW can be a privilege, but it may mean dealing with a common issue – a vulnerable oil filter gasket. The connection between the engine and the oil filter develops brittleness over time. Take the car in for regular maintenance because it's a relatively easy fix if this problem is caught early enough. However, the repair requires more time and money if the gasket is left alone for too long. To prevent a leaky oil filter gasket, ensure your vehicle receives regular oil changes promptly for optimal maintenance.

9. Failing Electric Windows

Electric window problems are common in BMWs, mainly due to motor issues. Frequently, the motor malfunctions, causing the windows not to close fully. Incomplete closure might invite thieves, especially considering BMWs are among the most frequently stolen vehicles. It's crucial to fix this issue promptly. Additionally, driving with open windows becomes uncomfortable, compounding the importance of resolving the problem immediately.

10. Faulty Water Pump

Due to the nature of their electric design, many BMW water pumps use a composite (basically stronger plastic) impeller prone to cracking and failing.

Easy – get an aftermarket water pump with a metal impeller, right? Not quite. It's crucial to use a lightweight composite impeller in an electric water pump. If the impeller is heavier and made of metal, it can cause the electric pump to wear down. If your BMW has this electric water pump, expect it to stop working as early as 30,000 miles. It's a good idea to change the thermostat while you change the water pump.

How Long Will A BMW Car Last?

When properly maintained, BMW cars can last for a long time.

How long do BMW models last? With the right care, you can expect your vehicle to last 200,000 to 250,000 miles—or even longer! Maintenance and care are key factors determining a BMW's performance, but as the studies above show, you can expect every BMW to offer above-average results.

What Are The Downsides To Owning A BMW?

Owning a used BMW does have its disadvantages. For starters, luxury cars carry higher insurance premiums and higher registration costs because of their value. They also cost more to maintain. A luxury car that is also foreign is even more expensive to maintain.

Foreign cars, in general, need specialty maintenance, which translates into higher maintenance costs. Since BMWs are German-designed cars, they are no exception. While BMWs are well-crafted vehicles, they require regular maintenance. Maintenance costs are higher than in non-luxury cars, and finding older-model parts can sometimes take time and effort. Repairs also come with a steeper price tag than those for domestic cars. If you own a used BMW, it's advisable to connect with a specialized mechanic who has expertise in servicing BMWs.

BMW cars are known for costing quite a bit more when it comes to maintenance. Besides the higher costs associated with a foreign car, they require premium gasoline and high-end tires, and the replacement parts are imported, which is more expensive. You'll also pay more for specialty labor and synthetic oil changes. BMW has a complex electronics setup. It needs upkeep through a more intricate diagnostic system. This luxury increases labor costs and more expensive parts when repairs are in order.

What To Look For When Buying A Used BMW

When checking out a pre-owned BMW, ensure you extensively test all the electronic features. See if the windows work properly. Are the seats working? What about the climate control? Remember the air conditioner, Bluetooth, and audio system.

Take a look underneath the carpet to inspect any water damage or corrosion. Also, have a look at the cargo space of the vehicle. Water is highly problematic for a car's electronic system.

If the car is a newer model, observe the key holder. Does the key fit nicely into it? Remember the wheels and rims of the vehicle. Hairline cracks can cause alloy rims to leak air. The damages can be minuscule and hard to spot. If the tires are lacking air, this could be an indication.

There are many things to look for when buying a used BMW car.

The hood of the car should also be inspected. It could be an oil or coolant leak if you smell anything strange. Try test-driving the vehicle to assess the quality of the transmission. Does it run smoothly? Or are there any rough shifts or loud clunks?

Buying a pre-owned car involves observing and assessing the mechanical quality and condition. How does it run? Please don't get too carried away with worrying about how many miles the vehicle has clocked or how old it is.

Do all of these things before you put pen to paper. It could be the difference between having an incredible pre-owned luxury BMW that runs or having one that doesn't — and costs you a fortune in repairs.

Is Getting A Used BMW Worth It?

Doing your research is the best way to know if a BMW is right for you. Are BMWs reliable? They are, but what you get out of your car will depend on what you put into it. Different BMW series models will have various needs. BMW 5- and 7-series cars are available in diesel and hybrid models. The 1-series models are typically smaller and might have less complicated components.

It would help always to keep depreciation in mind when deciding what car to buy. A BMW's value will drop over time, as with other makes and models. Many vehicles have a higher resale value than others, but higher-end vehicles typically depreciate much slower than others.

The vehicle's history will also play a big role in your decision. You can access information about the previous owner, past repair and maintenance services, and any accidents it was involved in. The more you know before buying a used car, the better you can determine which one is right.

Thoughts on BMW Reliability

BMWs are more reliable than the general perception leads one to believe. No matter how reliable, BMWs cost more for regular upkeep and specific repairs. Routine maintenance, like oil changes, brakes, and tires, is pricier than an average car. If you observe any of these vehicle issues, reach out to us at Europe Services Auto. Our highly skilled and certified technicians have ample experience to ensure the longevity of any BMW model. Each BMW in the workshop is handled with care as if it were our own, and ensuring customer satisfaction remains our topmost priority.


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